A Minna Chief Magistrates’ Court on Friday ordered the remand in prison custody of a middle aged man, Hassan Baba, for allegedly impersonating Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger to defraud a director of N18m.
The accused was docked alongside one Bala Danladi on a five-count charge of criminal conspiracy, forgery, impersonation, criminal breach of trust and cheating by impersonation.
The Police Prosecutor, Jude Akaeze, told the court that one Mohammed Ibrahim, a Director of Finance at the Niger State House of Assembly reported the matter at the G.R.A station on July 26.
Mr. Akaeze said the complainant alleged that Mr. Baba had come to his office and introduced himself as ‘a right hand man of Governor. Bello’ and gave him two phone numbers allegedly to be the governor’s numbers.
He said Mr. Baba was said to have been using the numbers to call Ibrahim under the guise of being the governor, telling him that he will be sending Baba (himself) to him if he wanted anything.
Mr. Baba thereafter conspired with Mr. Danladi, a driver to Mr. Ibrahim, to forge a letter of appointment of permanent secretaries using the letter head of the state Head of Service and included Mr. Ibrahim’s name in it as permanent secretary Ministry of Finance to convince him that he was close to the governor.
Mr. Baba was said to have capitalized on Mr. Ibrahim’s trust and confidence in him as the ‘governor’s right man hand’ by defrauding the director of N18m between May and June.
During police investigation, N1.2 million and two cars were recovered from Baba and it was also discovered that Mr. Danladi gave Baba all the information he needed about the director.
When the charges were read to the accused persons, they all pleaded not guilty.
The prosecutor said the offences contravened sections 97, 364, 132, 392, 312, and 324 of the penal code respectively.
He told the court that police had concluded investigation into the case and asked for a date to commence hearing.
However, counsel to the first defendant, Liman Abdullahi, prayed the court to order the police to furnish him with the statements of the complainant, accused persons and the police investigation report.
Mr. Abdullahi noted that his application was predicated on section 36 subsection 6 of the 1999 constitution.
The prosecution thereafter sought the leave of the court to file a written address in response to the issues raised by the defense counsel.
The presiding Magistrate, Mohammed Gabi, adjourned the matter until Sept. 28 to enable the prosecution file his written address.